Physician Groups Offered Limited Support on Reimbursement Bill
Physician groups offered "scant last-minute help" to legislators seeking to approve legislation on Medicare physician payments, The Hill reports.
Congress late last week approved a tax, trade and health care bill (HR 6111) that would maintain the current level of Medicare physician reimbursements for 2007 and provide a 1.5% increase in reimbursements to physicians who agree to report data on certain quality-of-care measures.
During the year, the American Medical Association and a number of other physician groups lobbied Congress to pass legislation to reverse a 5% reduction in Medicare physician reimbursements scheduled to take effect in January 2007.
House Ways and Means Committee staff last week prior to the approval of the bill e-mailed a number of health care groups to ask for letters of support for the legislation.
However, among physician groups, only the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Physicians, the American Osteopathic Association and the College of American Pathologists appeared on a list of 21 "organizations that support the health provisions in HR 6111," according to a document published on Wednesday on the committee Web site.
AMA issued statements before and after Congress voted on the legislation but did not issue a letter of support.
In one of the statements, Cecil Wilson, chair of the AMA board of trustees, said, "Today's action provides an important but temporary reprieve for seniors and the physicians who care for them." AMA had sought legislation that would revise the formula used to determine Medicare physician reimbursements.
In addition, AMA opposed provisions in the bill passed last week that would link Medicare physician reimbursements to whether they report data on quality-of-care measures (Young, The Hill, 12/14).